About Jonny

Find out more

“Jonny’s huge wealth of understanding and his work with young people through Youth Justice projects clearly comes through. He’s presents all his experience and knowledge in a way that is so accessible to frontline practitioners. Each time we engage with him it becomes ever more clear that we need his compassion and understanding of our troubled young people communicating to a much wider audience.”

Sheila Taylor MBE

Chief Executive, National Working Group on Child Sexual Exploitation (NWG)


It makes sense to know a little about the person behind this website and blog, so here goes:

My name is Jonny Matthew, I’m 55 years old and I live in Bridgend, South Wales, U.K. I have two lovely kids, called Gruff (20) and Annie (15). When I’m not working I like to play with my Apple gadgets, make stuff out of clay, read, go to the cinema and spend time with my wife, Karen, and my kids.

What’s this blog about?

My passion is working to help young people in crisis to recover. I also like to inspire colleagues to do the same. All of my work aims to promote the rights, well-being and future success of children and young people whose start in life has been a struggle.

Maybe they’ve been abused, neglected, brain-injured, abandoned to the care system, or maybe they have a mental illness – whatever the cause, it’s been a struggle!

Reading & research interests...

My reading and research interests include:

  • child care,
  • youth crime,
  • sexual abuse,
  • adoption,
  • attachment & child development,
  • youth justice policy and practice,
  • therapy,
  • brain science…

…and all things related to helping troubled kids to recover.

I write a couple of blog posts each month, but there are announcements of training, interesting ‘reads’ and other things, too. I send these out by email to more than 3500 subscribers.

You can join them by clicking one of the blue buttons on this page and entering your name and email in the spaces – or just click here. That way you can get the posts – and the help they contain – as I write them.

As my gift to you, all subscribers get a complimentary copy of my little e-book, “Connecting With Troubled Young People.”

Thanks for your interest in the website – I hope it’ll be helpful to you!

Wishing you well in the work…


p.s. There’s more bio, employment and other info below. Thanks for your interest!  :0)

Jonny's Employment History

As well as my independent work, I am employed part time by the Youth Justice Board Wales as Practice Change Lead (working to embed trauma-informed working in youth offending teams in Wales).

My previous professional role was that of Assistant Manager at Hillside Secure Children’s Home in Neath, South Wales.  My responsibilities included leading on interventions, care planning and staff training.

Before that I was a youth justice social worker for Rhondda Cynon Taff county borough council in a youth offending team and, for nearly ten years, a manager and specialist practitioner with Barnardo’s Cymru Taith Service, working with children and young people with harmful sexual behaviour.

A Brief Bio

I left school at 16 to apprentice as a motor mechanic. I volunteered in the church youth club at the same time (I was the kid who wouldn’t leave!). Later, I qualified in social work, specialising in youth crime, before taking a Masters degree in criminology and criminal justice.

My interests have broadened over the years to include anything relating to young people in trouble. I guess I was one of those kids who could have gone either way myself; into trouble or on to success. I made that decision whilst sat in the back of a Police car in 1982! I could make the right decision because I had a great start in life, with dedicated, hard-working, Christian parents who set a fine example for me to follow. But many young people never experience that care. Their early years are characterised by threat, illness, neglect, abuse or a combination of these and more.

These kids deserve a chance. For most children, that chance lies in building a trusting relationship with an adult who cares. Someone who can be their security and look out for their interests. For many kids, that person is a professional – a social worker, a foster carer, a youth offending team worker, a youth worker, a school teacher – someone who gives a monkeys about them.

These are the people I want to inform and inspire through my work.


I also sing in a band called BarlowCree – with my mate Liam Millinship (world class guitarist!).  The stuff we write and play is acoustic/folk/trad – ish, with hints of rock and new country thrown in.  Our first album, “Holystone” was launched in July 2011. Our second album, “Broadsword” was released in August 2017.


This is a personal blog, reflecting my views and opinions, not necessarily those of my employer or anyone I’m currently working with.

The information I provide is on an as-seen basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its use.

If you are in any doubt about what to do in respect of a particular child or situation, please contact a suitably qualified professional.

© Jonny Matthew 2020

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